Venezuela's opposition leader says medical aid to arrive soon

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US: Russian Military in Venezuela Seen as Threat to Peace
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31 March, 2019

Maduro has responded to Guaido's sharp criticisms with his own tough language, describing him as a "diabolical puppet" attempting to execute a coup plot on behalf of the United States, which has imposed sanctions on Venezuela.

National Security Adviser John Bolton made the statement, two days after U.S. President Donald Trump said Russia "has to get out" of Venezuela, and following the recent arrival of Russian military personnel there.

U.S. President Donald Trump earlier this week said "Russia has to get out" of Venezuela and said "all options" were open to force Russia to do so after two Russian air force planes carrying almost 100 military personnel landed outside Caracas.

Guaido blamed corruption and mismanagement under Maduro for the recurring blackouts that have crippled much of the country this month.

He also said medical aid would be coming into Venezuela in a matter of days, reiterating a promise that he was forced to renege on in February after security forces blocked USA -backed assistance from entering the country and clashed with protesters.

Venezuela has also been mired in a political crisis as dozens of nations have recognized Juan Guaido, the head of Venezuela's National Assembly, as the country's rightful leader, arguing Maduro's 2018 re-election was illegitimate.

"I would just say that we have options and that I think it would be a mistake for the Russians to think they have a free hand here", Elliott Abrams told reporters Friday at the State Department.

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Washington is particularly keen to end deliveries of gasoline and refined products used to dilute Venezuela's heavy crude oil to make it suitable for export.

Guaido, the US -backed leader of the opposition-controlled National Assembly, made several stops in Miranda state near Caracas, delivering trademark denunciations of Maduro's government and promises of a better life for Venezuela's struggling population.

Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.) warned about the dangers of the situation in Venezuela for the U.S. Severe shortages of food and medicine are common, and power blackouts have exacerbated the crisis.

The outages have left hospitals without power, worsened the already precarious supply of drinking water and left many stores without functioning point-of-sale terminals - which are crucial in the hyperinflationary economy where cash is in short supply.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said Friday it had been granted unhindered access to bring aid to Venezuela by mid-April.

White House officials have declined to say whether they're considering direct military action in Venezuela.


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